On being a strange generational hybrid
Regular readers will know, or have by now deduced, that I am in an existential crisis. I’m generationally awry.
I have the Birth Certificate, digital literacy and firm buttocks of a Generation Y, but the basic grammatical skills, suspicion of young people, latent revolutionary zeal and ever-present fear of imminent apocalypse of a Baby Boomer.
The Gen Y in me is impatient. But impatient for what the Boomer in me yearns for: a better, simpler, earlier time. Even though I’ve never experienced one.
I’m 33 and already a sort of strange quasi-reactionary, just without all the racism, desire for religious reverence or blatant misogyny. But I’m covering old ground here, so let me get to my point.
I am a Millennialoomer. (Fourteen hours working on combinations and that’s the best I could come up with.)
I suspect I’m not on my own, either. I also suspect I, and all those like me, including – presumably – many reading this, are about to become the new professional black, as it were. (How many Gen Ys do you know who say “As it were”?)
Talk about giving employers the best of both worlds:
We can write code and write a coherent English sentence.
We can walk and chew gum at the same time and do it until 11pm, 6 days a week.
We can be cynical about corporatisation and bureaucracy.
We can use both touchscreen devices and fountain pens.
We can upload stuff to a computer and mount a gramophone.
We do whatever the hell we like and are extremely polite to management while we do it.
True, we’re scared of the telephone and face-to-face human interaction, but we’re so charming, persuasive and literate via email and instant messenger that it doesn’t matter.
In total, we’re superior units of human capital and maybe it’s the Millennial in me talking, but it seems only a matter of time before we take over the world.
Next week: Generation Xoomers.
An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
You can read the column – Benign to Five – in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the Workplace section of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, WAToday and Brisbane Times. (I now wankishly call myself a “syndicated columnist” on my CV.)